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Immunology. 2017 Nov;152(3):372-381. doi: 10.1111/imm.12791. Epub 2017 Aug 4.

Regulatory T cells in skin.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Cutaneous Medicine Unit, St John's Institute of Dermatology, King's College London, London, UK.


Foxp3+ CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) cells are a subset of immune cells that function to regulate tissue inflammation. Skin is one of the largest organs and is home to a large proportion of the body's Treg cells. However, relative to other tissues (such as the spleen and gastrointestinal tract) the function of Treg cells in skin is less well defined. Here, we review our understanding of how Treg cells migrate to skin and the cellular and molecular pathways required for their maintenance in this tissue. In addition, we outline what is known about the specialized functions of Treg cells in skin. Namely, the orchestration of stem cell-mediated hair follicle regeneration, augmentation of wound healing, and promoting adaptive immune tolerance to skin commensal microbes. A comprehensive understanding of the biology of skin Treg cells may lead to novel therapeutic approaches that preferentially target these cells to treat cutaneous autoimmunity, skin cancers and disorders of skin regeneration.


autoimmunity; regulatory T cells; skin

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